May 21, 2010 Subject:
Ripley's Believe It or Not meets Paul Harvey
Rating: Excellent, very fast-paced, with fascinating stories and even more fascinating slice of 40s and 50s Americana. And it's not just for sports fans. There a lot of stories about famous performers of the day and historical figures.
My Reaction: I loved the cultural element of it. It was also great to travel back to the 1940s and 1950s. This show really has an atmosphere that is very dated -- more so than other shows I've heard. This show is a great snapshot of American culture.
I also found myself smiling at the hyper enthusiasm of Bill Stern. You certainly can't say that he lacked passion for his work.
In particular, I loved hearing the vocalizations of the great football fight songs-- nowadays, they are usually performed as instrumentals only. It's amazing how much better they sound being sung in the 40s style.
Reservations: I'm not sure about its accuracy. Bill Stern himself admits at the start of every show that some of his tales are "mere hearsay."
Content of the Show: Bill Stern was a play-by-play football announcer who did this weekly show-- often on location the night before one of his nationally broadcast football games. After the catchy, a cappella, Colgate Shave Cream commercial, Stern tells a couple of incredible stories with twist endings. Long before Paul Harvey, Stern hides the identity of the subject of the biography until the very end, to create suspense. It reminded me of reading Ripley's Believe It or Not as a kid.
In later shows these tales are improved by re-creations rather than Bill Stern just reading from a script.
Some of the stories don't seem to feature athletes and all -- which is good. They feature historical figures who overcame some astounding odds to achieve success. Other stories are about amateur athletes who found success in the performing arts -- usually music.
One note about the guests: Stern does a poor job with them. He usually does not even interview them-- mostly they are pre-recorded. These segments seemed to be designed only to give the audience a chance to hear a famous voice -- which may have been a rare opportunity in those days. The guests usually only read a prepared statement-- sometimes attesting to the veracity of the bizarre tale that has just been told -- or pay homage to Bill Stern. It makes them a bit stiff and awkward as a result.
July 3, 2007 Subject:
Bill_Sterns_Sports_Newsreel_-_450124-376_-_Rudy_Vallee.mp3 is actually 47-01-24
Bill_Sterns_Sports_Newsreel_-_450800_-_Babe_Ruth.mp3 is actually 46-03-22
Bill_Sterns_Sports_Newsreel_-_451229.mp3 is actually 45-12-28 Jack Benny
Bill_Sterns_Sports_Newsreel_-_460909_-_Sammy_Kaye.mp3 is actually 46-09-06
Bill_Sterns_Sports_Newsreel_-_500000_-_Lorraine_Day.mp3 is from 50-05-12